There are many reasons why someone would want to get into meditation.
- Health issues
- Low energy or motivation
- Lack of spiritual connection
- Poor creativity
- Waning mental ability & cognitive skills
- Trouble in relationships
- Stress and past emotional trauma issues
And for every problem, meditation seems to have the relative solution. Meditation:
- Improves physical health
- Cures depression
- Restores energy and passion
- Provides deep connection with the universe/spirit
- Enhances creativity
- Improves cognitive skills and abilities
- Expands point of view and compassion for others
- Heals emotional traumas
The really great thing is, that whatever the reason for starting, all the other benefits tend to manifest as a natural consequence. You wanted to de-stress from work? You also find your relationship with your spouse is getting better…
Meditation was once an important part of most cultures around the world. But sadly today, where we are encouraged (programmed?) into becoming either corporate ‘sheeple,’ or debt-slave serfs, that important practice is discouraged (meditators in popular media are portrayed as woo-woo, hippie losers).
Having a daily meditation practice encourages free-thought, gives you access to powerful inner-guidance, and allows you to perform right-action in your life.
It’s the magic word: awareness. Meditation expands the awareness of your own mental and emotional processes and patterns. After a little while, you begin to become aware of what your attention focuses on, a process that is usually completely unconscious, and deeply ingrained.
Your attention determines your thoughts → Your thoughts determine your emotions → Your emotions fuel your actions → And your actions determine your results in life.
Awareness Gives You Choice
When that awareness starts to arise, you then have a choice – in real-time.
“Do I choose to eat that candy bar when I really want to lose weight?”
“Do I choose to watch TV when really I want to grow my business?”
“Do I choose to pick a fight with my partner when really I want love and affection?”
These little moments of choice will become more and more frequent in your day-to-day life, and you will exercise your choice to create your life in the way that you want it – rather than in the compulsive, unconscious way we were raised to live.
So, let’s start meditating!
The Best Meditation Technique for Beginners
There’s only one technique I recommend for someone new, and here it is:
- Select a gentle piece of music without lyrics (new-age stuff is good) or a playlist that lasts for 20 minutes.
- Find a quiet spot to sit where you won’t be disturbed for the entire time.
- Sit upright in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and relax your body.
- Take several beep breaths, then settle into a natural breathing rhythm. Breathe into your stomach (this stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, or a relaxation response).
- Begin to notice your thoughts. Don’t try to fight them or push them out. Don’t follow them into a daydream either. Just notice.
- After a few minutes, bring your attention into your body. Specifically, your stomach, and notice your breath. In and out.
- Keep your attention on the breath. Like gentle waves ceaselessly lapping at the shore, your breath comes in, and goes out.
- If a thought comes into mind (and they will, relentlessly!), simply return your focus to the breath without judgement.
- Continue until the music stops and your 20 minutes is up.
You will likely return refreshed and buzzing with energy.
Now, depending on the emotional point you are starting from, there is a chance this process will completely frustrate and annoy you. Good! It’s working.
What to do if Meditation Annoys the Heck out of You
This is where I started my meditation practice. Angry, depressed, fearful and annoyed. Lovely!
Ever heard that Beatles song “Let it Be?” Let that be your ‘mantra.’ (No, don’t literally use that as your mantra, but just let it be, man!). Whatever comes up for you in meditation, just know that that is what is supposed to be happening for you at that moment. If you get fidgety and uncomfortable, put your awareness into the discomfort.
Persist. You’ll only know how worth it it was when your life is how you want it to be, and not some sad rerun of today.
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